Jewish World Review March 22, 2012/ 28 Adar, 5772
Faith-based energy policy
By Victor Davis Hanson
When the summer driving season starts soon, and tension heats up over
All presidents, of course, usually get the blame or praise when the price of gas skyrockets or plummets, just like they own a bad or good economy, or a successful or failed war.
Obama, however, earns additional blame for the gas rise for reasons well beyond the normal oil bogeymen -- tension in the
Why? Americans remember that his team boasted about wanting higher energy costs in 2008, when Obama was still basking in hope-and-change adulation. Energy Secretary designate
Candidate Obama breezily warned of skyrocketing energy prices -- the necessary cost of his planned cap-and-trade, anti-global-warming legislation.
Once upon a time, Obama and his supporters believed that high gas and oil prices were either helpful in ensuring that favored subsidized green energies would be cost competitive, or helped the environment. That's why a now-embarrassed Obama digs in by mocking opponents who call for increased drilling.
A president, so Obama claims, has little control over gas prices. New domestic supplies of oil would not come on the market for years. Americans consume a quarter of the world's oil supplies while possessing only 2 percent of global reserves. In a global oil market, additional American drilling would not make that much of a price difference.
All of these claims are either flat wrong or misleading.
Presidents can affect gas prices, at least in the long term, by exercising budgetary discipline resulting in a currency that buys more oil per dollar, by approving or rejecting federal oil leases, and by adding or curbing regulations that affect oil exploration and development. In all of these cases, Obama has supported policies that contribute to higher gas prices.
The point about the lag time between finding and pumping oil is valid. But that reality is precisely why presidents must green-light exploration for future generations -- and why Obama is now bragging of record U.S. production only because of his predecessor's granting of federal oil leases. Obama's "it takes too long" argument is absurd -- as if farmers should never plant new orchards since they won't see fruit on their trees for three years or more.
Obama's knowledge of U.S. reserves is 20 years out of date. In the first three years of his administration alone, new finds offshore, in
Technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling have made it possible for Americans to produce their own oil and gas as never before. We can pump oil with less environmental damage than can
New oil development will create thousands of jobs, worry speculators that America will soon release lots of oil on the world market, and provide a window to produce alternative energies without slapdash, Solyndra-like boondoggles.
Drilling is a win, win and win choice -- and so known to everyone except the president and his shrinking number of reactionary advisors, who prefer green faith to hard science.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
© 2012, TMS